Airbnb has said that it will remove from its website all properties in Israeli settlements built on the occupied Palestinian…
Airbnb has said that it will remove from its website all properties in Israeli settlements built on the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank after years of accusations that the company benefited from rents in the illegal outposts.
The accommodation bookings website announced on Monday that about 200 lists would be taken down in what will be seen as a victory for the Palestinian led anti-occupation movement.
“Many in global society have said businesses should not do business here because they believe companies should not benefit from the countries where people have been displaced,” he said in a statement published on his website.
“We concluded that we should remove lists in Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank that are at the heart of a dispute between Israelis and Palestinians.”
The announcement came before the publication on Tuesday of a condemnation report from the New York Times, based lawyer Human Right
Airbnb, claiming that it works in 1
91 countries, will be hit by a backslash from Israel and its international backers, who have fought attempts to delegate Israel’s control over the West Bank
Israel’s Tourism Minister Yariv Levin called the decision “discriminatory” according to Israeli media and instructed its ministry to “limit the company’s operations across the country”. It was not clear what this would mean.
Israel captured the West Bank from Jordanian forces in 1967 and continues to rule and occupy the area, although the Palestinians have limited self-government over small enclaves.
Ideologically driven Jewish nationalists claiming that all historic Palestine has since created postposts there and deprives Palestinian residents. Today, more than half a million settlers live in what has become sprawling cities that are connected to a network of roads that cut up the West Bank.
Settlements have long been seen as a critical obstacle to a peace treaty that the international community to a large extent agrees to be two states side by side, one for Israelis and one for Palestinians.
Activists have for years called Airbnb and other companies to withdraw from the disputed territory, and Airbnb acknowledged that it had “struggled to get the right approach.”
Human Rights Watch welcomed the move. Arvind Ganesan, Corporate and Human Rights Director of the Organization, said that Airbnb’s decision was “an important recognition that such lists can not count on their human rights responsibilities”.
“For two years, Human Rights Watch has spoken with Airbnb about their mediation of West Bank settlements that are illegal under international humanitarian law and for which Palestinian ID holders are effectively prevented from coming in,” he said.
The settlement movement has sought to encourage tourism in occupied countries with the help of the Israeli government, which established national parks there. A leaky EU report said that some projects were used “as a political tool to … support, legitimize and expand the settlements”.
In 2016, Airbnb was under further investigation after disclosing that its website noted real estate properties as inside the state of Israel, and not the Palestinian territories.
A Palestinian diplomat, Husam Zomlot, condemned the company at that time and said it was “promoting stolen property and land. There will be a time when companies such as this, coming from the occupation, will be brought to court. “
On Monday, a senior Palestinian negotiator described Saeb Erekat Airbn’s decision as a” first positive step “but complained that it did not cover East Jerusalem, which was also captured and occupied in the 1967 war.